Senators, Don't fund Abortion in Health Care

This letter is an edited form of a previous one I wrote to a different audience. I sent it to both my Senators. Please contact your senators also. We must stop abortion from being funded in the socialized "healthcare" plans being pushed by the liberals at the bidding of the communist President of the United States of America.

Madam Senator,

For the last 15 years as a professional firefighter, I have been privileged to belong to a labor union. In that time, I have served in various capacities including my current position as Vice President. I believe this membership in a labor union is a privilege for several reasons; early in my career I benefitted from my Local leadership’s dedication to ensuring that all represented employees are treated with justice. Also, my membership has afforded me the opportunity to express to those with opposing viewpoints and opinions the moral and philosophical justification of the labor movement in regards to workers rights, and its’ contribution to a just society.
I realize that for some, membership in a union is simply a necessity of employment with the only requirement being the payment of monthly dues. For others, it’s no different than membership in some social fraternal organization (e.g. the “Elks”, “Eagles”, or “American Legion”). For many it is seen as an opportunity to have a voice in the workplace and in local, state, and national political discourse. For me it’s all of those things, and something much more. Before I explain, let me ask:
Do you support the labor movement? Do you promote the cause of workers receiving a livable wage? Do you believe that the hours of work required of laborers should be limited by contract rules and statutes that include mandatory overtime pay? Should employers be responsible for providing a workplace free of unnecessary health risks and disparity in the treatment of workers based on their race, creed, skin color, gender, or religious affiliation?
Are your answers to those questions simply your opinion? Is there no right or wrong answer? Is your “yes” simply because supporting and promoting those causes puts money into your pocket, improves your economic and social condition, or keeps you in office? Does it come down to the simple idea of “Might makes Right” born of the 18th century “Will to Power” philosophers that inspired Marxism and National Socialism? Does being in power make you right and establish or prove the truth of those positions regarding worker’s or anyone else’s rights? Is there no right or wrong but only the powerful and the powerless?
I think not. I believe that the cause for worker’s rights is worthy of being supported because they are based on an objective moral truth. That is; all people have the right to be treated with dignity, respect, and justice by the simple fact that they are human persons. Collectively; worker’s rights, minority rights, religious rights, freedom of speech, freedom of self determination… are basic human rights issues. Those who are powerless are still entitled to those rights (such as the people in Darfur) and when deprived of them, it is recognized as a human rights violation.
To deprive someone of these rights is an injustice. All injustices are wrong. However, some injustices have more grave consequence for the victim than others do. Therefore it can be said that all injustices are equally wrong, but all wrongs are not equally unjust. For Example; it is rightly recognized by our judicial system that stealing a pack of gum is an injustice and is therefore against the law (a misdemeanor). Embezzling someone’s pension is also stealing, but is a worse injustice and therefore the consequences of breaking that law are greater (a felony with prison time).
As you readily see, the more grave the consequence of a wrong, the worse the injustice that has been committed. The Founding Father’s of our country rightly recognized that we have "...certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness...” arranged in that order out of right reason not coincidence. To pursue happiness you must be free, to be free you must first be alive! To be alive is the foundation of all these rights because we're talking about a human person who is alive.
To work for the protection of people’s rights in regards to workers justice is good. But, it is only good as long as you are not denying them a superior right. You can't promote a grave injustice while protecting a hierarchically inferior issue of social justice. To do so opposes the integration of human rights into our society, thus disintegrating human rights.
The protection of innocent human life, from conception to natural death, must be promoted by elected officials, organized labor, and all interested in a civil society. This encompasses the issues of abortion, destructive embryonic stem cell research, human cloning, and euthanasia (“death with dignity”). To promote other human rights issues at the expense of, or while simultaneously attacking a hierarchically superior right, (specifically the right to life upon which all other human rights are contingent), is an abomination of justice.

Every day approximately 3,200 (ref. CDC 2008 statistics) unborn infants lives’ are ended through procured abortions in the United States. It is the single most important human rights issue of our time, and I daresay, of all time. We must protect and promote the rights of workers to fair wages, reasonable hours, and healthy working conditions. Just not at the expense of innocent people’s lives.

Voting for a healthcare bill that supports this human rights violation is not warranted. Especially by a Senator who professes to support worker’s rights. Please act in concert with your professed morals and do not support any healthcare bill which funds abortion.


President Obama Infanticide/Eugenics/Euthanasia Tracker

  • January 22, 2009: Affirmed his dedication to "reproductive freedom" in a speech commemorating the anniversary of the Roe ~Vs~ Wade decision.
  • January 23, 2009: Nullified the Mexico City Policy, freeing up federal tax dollars for worldwide organizations that provide abortion services in order to promote "family planning".
  • February 27, 2009: President Obama announces that the health care workers "Conscience Clause" put in place in the previous administration would be reviewed and probably changed because it could impinge on a womans right to receive medical care (have her baby killed).
  • Marcy 9, 2009: rescinds ban on embryonic stem cell research
  • March 18, 2009: Though the economy is in turmoil, Obama sends $50,000,000 to the United Nations Population Fund. An organization that violates human rights through supporting coerced and forced sterilizations and abortions in China.
  • Appointments reflect a contempt for protecting innocent lives, e.g.
    · Rahm Emmanual: Chief of Staff (100% pro-abortion record as a congressman)
    · Melody Barnes : Domestic Policy Adviser (former board member of Planned Parenthood Action Fund)
    · Ellen Moran: Communications Director (former executive director of pro-abortion PAC Emily’s List)
    · Hillary Clinton: Secretary of State (long record of extreme pro-abortion activity as First Lady, NY Senator)
    · Kathleen Sebelius: Health & Human Services Secretary (extreme pro-abortion record [but still a “good Catholic”])
    · More to come…
  • FOCA Obama: on July 17, 2007, Obama said, "The first thing I'd do as president is sign the Freedom of Choice Act. That's the first thing that I'd do." FOCA Bill about to be reintroduced in both houses at Obama's urging (early 2009).


United Christian Foundation Not Even Christian

I was reading a news story regarding a chaplain (Kent Higgins) at the University of Massachusettes who was advising students of a way to get credits by campaigning for Obama. The story itself doesn't really surprise me. Universities are crawling with liberals. In my experience, liberals are tyrannical in their intolerance of competing social and political philosophy. What I did find interesting was a comment posted by one of the readers.

"I am suspect of a Chaplain that supports Obama. I would be curious to find out what denomination he belongs to considering the Junior Senator from Illinois record on infanticide. I am making a huge assumption that this Chaplain is even Christian, we are talking about the University of Massachusetts." - "Jim"

Here are some points I'd like to make.

1. "I am suspect..." Me to. Not because he's a chaplain though. I'm suspect of anyone who supports Obama.

2. "I would be curious..." Me too. I put about 3 minutes of effort into it and this is what I found

3. "I am making a huge assumption that this chaplain is even Christian..." This is what I find most interesting. It is a very "Evangelical Christian" type of statement. Here is what I mean:

When I was sojourning through various traditions of Protestant Christianity, I often found an ironic accusation against the Catholic Church. This accusation was that Catholicism was very controlling and judgemental. One of the things that was complained about most vehemently was how the Catholic Church identified herself as the one true Church founded by Jesus Christ and that all other Christian churches or communities were in varying degrees of error in their teaching and faith. This would be followed by an explanation of how their particular community embraced the real truth, and that the Catholic Church (and other Christian churches to a lesser degree) were in error regarding their teaching and faith.

The problem they had with the Church was more about the Church's "arrogance" than it was about the Church's teaching (though there were difficulties with Catholic teaching also). I mean, "how dare the Catholic Church actually believe what it professes and act in a manner congruent with that teaching".

Back to "Jim's" comment... I assume that he is from an "Evangelical" church and that he would describe himself as "Born Again". I also assume that he believes that the Bible is the innerent, inspired word of God and that it alone is authoritative in matters of Faith. I also assume that he believes in "Eternal Security" for those true believers who have been Born Again. That's a lot of assuming, and you know what they say about assuming...

One of the problems with Evangelical Christianity is their understanding of sin and their understanding of being saved by "Faith Alone" and how this relates to their definition of being "Christian". This leads to an inability to recognize social problems for what they are (sins). And it leads to a false judgement of the state of another person's soul.

To believe that a person can only be a true Christian if they "behave" in a certain way is a common error of judgement for Evangelicals. They are close to the truth though. Behaving is about putting your faith into action, you know, WORKS!! (read the Jame's letter). The reason for the judgement that the person couldn't be a real Christian is becuase of the "once saved always saved" error. Many an Evangelical has told me that if a person is "truly" saved they won't be attracted to do the sinful things any longer. And if a person who thinks they are "really" saved falls into some great sin, then they weren't really saved in the first place. You see, many Evangelicals want it both ways... and that just doesn't work (i.e. "eternal security" and the idea that a person couldn't have really been saved in the first place "it didn't take" if they behave in a gravely sinful manner).

I believe that the chaplain in question can be a sincere Christian in his heart and be in error in how he acts in social, political, and interpersonal matters. I would just say that he has a poorly formed conscience to be able to justify supporting a candidate that promotes the culture of death.

I would encourage any Evangelicals reading this to take some time and study the Catholic teaching on justification. Do it with a prayerful and open mind. It makes much more sense than the Protestant/Evangelical position(s) and teaching(s). Here are some resources:

Born again?
Eternal Security (Once Saved Always Saved)?
Grace and Justification
Mortal Sin?
Necessity of Baptism
Reward and Merit
Salvation Outside the Church?


Christian Voter Part 4: Euthanasia

I now come to the seven issues to which there is only 1 legitimate position for a Christian voter. To take the opposite position (through activism, or by placing your vote), would be indicative of a corrupted conscience or a disingenuous spirit of compromising moral truth for the spirit of the age.

ISSUE #3 Euthanasia

What: Euthanasia is the taking of another persons life through either direct action or purposeful lack of attention. Most particularly the sick, elderly, and poor (note: the definition in the American Heritage 4th ED. reads "The act of painlessly ending the life of a person for reasons of mercy.) (Mercy is defined as: Compassionate treatment of those under ones power. A disposition to being kind and forgiving.)

Other Names: Death With Dignity, Mercy Killing, Assisted Suicide, Murder.

I will simply post here a letter prepared by the Bishops of Spokane, Yakima, and Seattle.

"Respecting Life at the End of Life"
Washington State Catholic Bishops Oppose I-1000
That Legalizes Physician-assisted Suicide

A well-financed initiative campaign is currently seeking to legalize physician-assisted suicide in Washington State. Proponents of the measure (Initiative 1000) maintain that individuals in the final stages of a terminal illness should have the choice to end their lives on their own terms. This assertion is contrary to our Catholic teaching. We believe that God alone has sovereignty over life, and that human beings are not simply autonomous individuals, but a family called into communion with God and each other.

Based on Sacred Scripture and tradition, the Catholic Church teaches that all life is a gift from the Creator. As God’s creation, the value and dignity of human life cannot be limited by the boundaries of our earthly existence. We therefore embrace the hope that the fullness of life consists not in the number of our days, but in sharing the very life of God. This sacred reality calls us to be grateful stewards of life from its beginning to its natural end.

Initiative 1000 contradicts this understanding and represents a dangerous new assault on the culture of life. Of special concern is the threat that legalizing assisted suicide poses for vulnerable persons, who are already at risk of marginalization by an individualistic and utilitarian perspective of life. Those most at risk from this dangerous change in public policy are elderly persons, those without adequate health care, people with disabilities and those with no family support system.

Further, by turning suicide into a medical option that can be exercised without consulting family or friends, it radically alters the relationship between physicians and their terminally-ill patients, depriving patients of the vital support their family, friends and faith can provide in making good decisions at the end of life. It may also put the decision for life and death into the hands of insurance companies, which may be motivated only by financial gain and not the best interest of the patient.

Through the compassionate care of hospice services, we have learned that people faced with their own mortality have a deep desire to embrace what they value most. They want a final opportunity to grant and seek forgiveness, to offer thanks, to demonstrate love and to say good-bye. Assisted suicide denies dying persons the one possession necessary to fulfill these desires: time.

All Catholics have a duty to bring their faith and values into the public square in order to build a just society. Because God alone has sovereignty over the sacred gift of life, we uphold the dignity of all human life regardless of frailty or social definitions of usefulness. As the bishops of Washington State, we oppose Initiative 1000 and ask all Catholics before voting on this measure to inform their consciences about the Church’s teaching on end of life decisions.

As stewards of life, individuals and society have a responsibility to promote compassion and care for people suffering from terminal illnesses, always striving to give them hope and to alleviate their fear, pain and loneliness. Our participation as faithful citizens responsible for establishing and maintaining laws that respect life must always seek the common good and protect vulnerable people, including those confronting death, by ensuring that their final days are lived as fully as possible in the company of family and friends.

Initiative 1000 stands in stark opposition to our teaching, and we urge all Catholic people to commit themselves to study and prayer in order to better understand Catholic teaching on end-of-life issues, and to explain the dangers of Initiative 1000 to family members, friends and neighbors.

For more information to assist you in better understanding this important issue, visit the Washington State Catholic Conference website at www.thewscc.org or call (206) 301-0556.

Of particular concern to me is the Insurance Company aspect of this. Insurance companies are in the business of making money. I'm sure everyone has experienced difficulty in getting a claim paid without first receiving several denials. Or even a final decision from your insurance carrier to not cover something. When my wife and I were young, (WOW!! that pains me to say) and were first starting our family, our insurance wouldn't pay for "Well Baby Checks", but they would pay for my or my wifes surgical sterilization, they would pay for contraceptive prescriptions, they would even pay for an abortion, but I'll be damned if they would pay for us to take our child to a physician for preventative care. How would the decision be made by the insurance company when faced with either paying for expensive cancer treatment in an individual with a poor prognosis or paying a paltry sum for the person to "die with dignity"?

I am a firm believer that the results of this initiative passing would be deadly for the poor and middle class.


Arbiter of Justice addendum

So I was at my men's group on Tuesday. We are currently reading and discussing Pope Benedict's Encylical, Spe Salvi. It has been very enriching to say the least. On this particular evening we read the following paragraphs (see below). I found it very interesting that our reading of these paragraphs happened to coincide with my blog discussion on Justice. The Pope's insight is something I would like to share as an addendum to my "Aribiter of Justice" post.

III. Judgement as a setting for learning and practising hope

41. At the conclusion of the central section of the Church's great Credo—the part that recounts the mystery of Christ, from his eternal birth of the Father and his temporal birth of the Virgin Mary, through his Cross and Resurrection to the second coming—we find the phrase: “he will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead”. From the earliest times, the prospect of the Judgement has influenced Christians in their daily living as a criterion by which to order their present life, as a summons to their conscience, and at the same time as hope in God's justice. Faith in Christ has never looked merely backwards or merely upwards, but always also forwards to the hour of justice that the Lord repeatedly proclaimed. This looking ahead has given Christianity its importance for the present moment. In the arrangement of Christian sacred buildings, which were intended to make visible the historic and cosmic breadth of faith in Christ, it became customary to depict the Lord returning as a king—the symbol of hope—at the east end; while the west wall normally portrayed the Last Judgement as a symbol of our responsibility for our lives—a scene which followed and accompanied the faithful as they went out to resume their daily routine. As the iconography of the Last Judgement developed, however, more and more prominence was given to its ominous and frightening aspects, which obviously held more fascination for artists than the splendour of hope, often all too well concealed beneath the horrors.

42. In the modern era, the idea of the Last Judgement has faded into the background: Christian faith has been individualized and primarily oriented towards the salvation of the believer's own soul, while reflection on world history is largely dominated by the idea of progress. The fundamental content of awaiting a final Judgement, however, has not disappeared: it has simply taken on a totally different form. The atheism of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries is—in its origins and aims—a type of moralism: a protest against the injustices of the world and of world history. A world marked by so much injustice, innocent suffering, and cynicism of power cannot be the work of a good God. A God with responsibility for such a world would not be a just God, much less a good God. It is for the sake of morality that this God has to be contested. Since there is no God to create justice, it seems man himself is now called to establish justice. If in the face of this world's suffering, protest against God is understandable, the claim that humanity can and must do what no God actually does or is able to do is both presumptuous and intrinsically false. It is no accident that this idea has led to the greatest forms of cruelty and violations of justice; rather, it is grounded in the intrinsic falsity of the claim. A world which has to create its own justice is a world without hope. No one and nothing can answer for centuries of suffering. No one and nothing can guarantee that the cynicism of power—whatever beguiling ideological mask it adopts—will cease to dominate the world. This is why the great thinkers of the Frankfurt School, Max Horkheimer and Theodor W. Adorno, were equally critical of atheism and theism. Horkheimer radically excluded the possibility of ever finding a this-worldly substitute for God, while at the same time he rejected the image of a good and just God. In an extreme radicalization of the Old Testament prohibition of images, he speaks of a “longing for the totally Other” that remains inaccessible—a cry of yearning directed at world history. Adorno also firmly upheld this total rejection of images, which naturally meant the exclusion of any “image” of a loving God. On the other hand, he also constantly emphasized this “negative” dialectic and asserted that justice —true justice—would require a world “where not only present suffering would be wiped out, but also that which is irrevocably past would be undone”[30]. This, would mean, however—to express it with positive and hence, for him, inadequate symbols—that there can be no justice without a resurrection of the dead. Yet this would have to involve “the resurrection of the flesh, something that is totally foreign to idealism and the realm of Absolute spirit”[31].

43. Christians likewise can and must constantly learn from the strict rejection of images that is contained in God's first commandment (cf. Ex 20:4). The truth of negative theology was highlighted by the Fourth Lateran Council, which explicitly stated that however great the similarity that may be established between Creator and creature, the dissimilarity between them is always greater[32]. In any case, for the believer the rejection of images cannot be carried so far that one ends up, as Horkheimer and Adorno would like, by saying “no” to both theses—theism and atheism. God has given himself an “image”: in Christ who was made man. In him who was crucified, the denial of false images of God is taken to an extreme. God now reveals his true face in the figure of the sufferer who shares man's God-forsaken condition by taking it upon himself. This innocent sufferer has attained the certitude of hope: there is a God, and God can create justice in a way that we cannot conceive, yet we can begin to grasp it through faith. Yes, there is a resurrection of the flesh[33]. There is justice[34]. There is an “undoing” of past suffering, a reparation that sets things aright. For this reason, faith in the Last Judgement is first and foremost hope—the need for which was made abundantly clear in the upheavals of recent centuries. I am convinced that the question of justice constitutes the essential argument, or in any case the strongest argument, in favour of faith in eternal life. The purely individual need for a fulfilment that is denied to us in this life, for an everlasting love that we await, is certainly an important motive for believing that man was made for eternity; but only in connection with the impossibility that the injustice of history should be the final word does the necessity for Christ's return and for new life become fully convincing.

44. To protest against God in the name of justice is not helpful. A world without God is a world without hope (cf. Eph 2:12). Only God can create justice. And faith gives us the certainty that he does so. The image of the Last Judgement is not primarily an image of terror, but an image of hope; for us it may even be the decisive image of hope. Is it not also a frightening image? I would say: it is an image that evokes responsibility, an image, therefore, of that fear of which Saint Hilary spoke when he said that all our fear has its place in love[35]. God is justice and creates justice. This is our consolation and our hope. And in his justice there is also grace. This we know by turning our gaze to the crucified and risen Christ. Both these things—justice and grace—must be seen in their correct inner relationship. Grace does not cancel out justice. It does not make wrong into right. It is not a sponge which wipes everything away, so that whatever someone has done on earth ends up being of equal value. Dostoevsky, for example, was right to protest against this kind of Heaven and this kind of grace in his novel The Brothers Karamazov. Evildoers, in the end, do not sit at table at the eternal banquet beside their victims without distinction, as though nothing had happened. Here I would like to quote a passage from Plato which expresses a premonition of just judgement that in many respects remains true and salutary for Christians too. Albeit using mythological images, he expresses the truth with an unambiguous clarity, saying that in the end souls will stand naked before the judge. It no longer matters what they once were in history, but only what they are in truth: “Often, when it is the king or some other monarch or potentate that he (the judge) has to deal with, he finds that there is no soundness in the soul whatever; he finds it scourged and scarred by the various acts of perjury and wrong-doing ...; it is twisted and warped by lies and vanity, and nothing is straight because truth has had no part in its development. Power, luxury, pride, and debauchery have left it so full of disproportion and ugliness that when he has inspected it (he) sends it straight to prison, where on its arrival it will undergo the appropriate punishment ... Sometimes, though, the eye of the judge lights on a different soul which has lived in purity and truth ... then he is struck with admiration and sends him to the isles of the blessed”[36]. In the parable of the rich man and Lazarus (cf. Lk 16:19-31), Jesus admonishes us through the image of a soul destroyed by arrogance and opulence, who has created an impassable chasm between himself and the poor man; the chasm of being trapped within material pleasures; the chasm of forgetting the other, of incapacity to love, which then becomes a burning and unquenchable thirst. We must note that in this parable Jesus is not referring to the final destiny after the Last Judgement, but is taking up a notion found, inter alia, in early Judaism, namely that of an intermediate state between death and resurrection, a state in which the final sentence is yet to be pronounced.

45. This early Jewish idea of an intermediate state includes the view that these souls are not simply in a sort of temporary custody but, as the parable of the rich man illustrates, are already being punished or are experiencing a provisional form of bliss. There is also the idea that this state can involve purification and healing which mature the soul for communion with God. The early Church took up these concepts, and in the Western Church they gradually developed into the doctrine of Purgatory. We do not need to examine here the complex historical paths of this development; it is enough to ask what it actually means. With death, our life-choice becomes definitive—our life stands before the judge. Our choice, which in the course of an entire life takes on a certain shape, can have a variety of forms. There can be people who have totally destroyed their desire for truth and readiness to love, people for whom everything has become a lie, people who have lived for hatred and have suppressed all love within themselves. This is a terrifying thought, but alarming profiles of this type can be seen in certain figures of our own history. In such people all would be beyond remedy and the destruction of good would be irrevocable: this is what we mean by the word Hell[37]. On the other hand there can be people who are utterly pure, completely permeated by God, and thus fully open to their neighbours—people for whom communion with God even now gives direction to their entire being and whose journey towards God only brings to fulfilment what they already are[38].

46. Yet we know from experience that neither case is normal in human life. For the great majority of people—we may suppose—there remains in the depths of their being an ultimate interior openness to truth, to love, to God. In the concrete choices of life, however, it is covered over by ever new compromises with evil—much filth covers purity, but the thirst for purity remains and it still constantly re-emerges from all that is base and remains present in the soul. What happens to such individuals when they appear before the Judge? Will all the impurity they have amassed through life suddenly cease to matter? What else might occur? Saint Paul, in his First Letter to the Corinthians, gives us an idea of the differing impact of God's judgement according to each person's particular circumstances. He does this using images which in some way try to express the invisible, without it being possible for us to conceptualize these images—simply because we can neither see into the world beyond death nor do we have any experience of it. Paul begins by saying that Christian life is built upon a common foundation: Jesus Christ. This foundation endures. If we have stood firm on this foundation and built our life upon it, we know that it cannot be taken away from us even in death. Then Paul continues: “Now if any one builds on the foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw—each man's work will become manifest; for the Day will disclose it, because it will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test what sort of work each one has done. If the work which any man has built on the foundation survives, he will receive a reward. If any man's work is burned up, he will suffer loss, though he himself will be saved, but only as through fire” (1 Cor 3:12-15). In this text, it is in any case evident that our salvation can take different forms, that some of what is built may be burned down, that in order to be saved we personally have to pass through “fire” so as to become fully open to receiving God and able to take our place at the table of the eternal marriage-feast.

47. Some recent theologians are of the opinion that the fire which both burns and saves is Christ himself, the Judge and Saviour. The encounter with him is the decisive act of judgement. Before his gaze all falsehood melts away. This encounter with him, as it burns us, transforms and frees us, allowing us to become truly ourselves. All that we build during our lives can prove to be mere straw, pure bluster, and it collapses. Yet in the pain of this encounter, when the impurity and sickness of our lives become evident to us, there lies salvation. His gaze, the touch of his heart heals us through an undeniably painful transformation “as through fire”. But it is a blessed pain, in which the holy power of his love sears through us like a flame, enabling us to become totally ourselves and thus totally of God. In this way the inter-relation between justice and grace also becomes clear: the way we live our lives is not immaterial, but our defilement does not stain us for ever if we have at least continued to reach out towards Christ, towards truth and towards love. Indeed, it has already been burned away through Christ's Passion. At the moment of judgement we experience and we absorb the overwhelming power of his love over all the evil in the world and in ourselves. The pain of love becomes our salvation and our joy. It is clear that we cannot calculate the “duration” of this transforming burning in terms of the chronological measurements of this world. The transforming “moment” of this encounter eludes earthly time-reckoning—it is the heart's time, it is the time of “passage” to communion with God in the Body of Christ[39]. The judgement of God is hope, both because it is justice and because it is grace. If it were merely grace, making all earthly things cease to matter, God would still owe us an answer to the question about justice—the crucial question that we ask of history and of God. If it were merely justice, in the end it could bring only fear to us all. The incarnation of God in Christ has so closely linked the two together—judgement and grace—that justice is firmly established: we all work out our salvation “with fear and trembling” (Phil 2:12). Nevertheless grace allows us all to hope, and to go trustfully to meet the Judge whom we know as our “advocate”, or parakletos (cf. 1 Jn 2:1).

48. A further point must be mentioned here, because it is important for the practice of Christian hope. Early Jewish thought includes the idea that one can help the deceased in their intermediate state through prayer (see for example 2 Macc 12:38-45; first century BC). The equivalent practice was readily adopted by Christians and is common to the Eastern and Western Church. The East does not recognize the purifying and expiatory suffering of souls in the afterlife, but it does acknowledge various levels of beatitude and of suffering in the intermediate state. The souls of the departed can, however, receive “solace and refreshment” through the Eucharist, prayer and almsgiving. The belief that love can reach into the afterlife, that reciprocal giving and receiving is possible, in which our affection for one another continues beyond the limits of death—this has been a fundamental conviction of Christianity throughout the ages and it remains a source of comfort today. Who would not feel the need to convey to their departed loved ones a sign of kindness, a gesture of gratitude or even a request for pardon? Now a further question arises: if “Purgatory” is simply purification through fire in the encounter with the Lord, Judge and Saviour, how can a third person intervene, even if he or she is particularly close to the other? When we ask such a question, we should recall that no man is an island, entire of itself. Our lives are involved with one another, through innumerable interactions they are linked together. No one lives alone. No one sins alone. No one is saved alone. The lives of others continually spill over into mine: in what I think, say, do and achieve. And conversely, my life spills over into that of others: for better and for worse. So my prayer for another is not something extraneous to that person, something external, not even after death. In the interconnectedness of Being, my gratitude to the other—my prayer for him—can play a small part in his purification. And for that there is no need to convert earthly time into God's time: in the communion of souls simple terrestrial time is superseded. It is never too late to touch the heart of another, nor is it ever in vain. In this way we further clarify an important element of the Christian concept of hope. Our hope is always essentially also hope for others; only thus is it truly hope for me too[40]. As Christians we should never limit ourselves to asking: how can I save myself? We should also ask: what can I do in order that others may be saved and that for them too the star of hope may rise? Then I will have done my utmost for my own personal salvation as well.

[30] Negative Dialektik (1966), Third part, III, 11, in Gesammelte Schriften VI, Frankfurt am Main 1973, p.395.
[31] Ibid., Second part, p.207.
[32] DS 806.
[33] Cf. Catechism of the Catholic Church, 988-1004.
[34] Cf. ibid., 1040.
[35] Cf. Tractatus super Psalmos, Ps 127, 1-3: CSEL 22, 628-630.
[36] Gorgias 525a-526c.
[37] Cf. Catechism of the Catholic Church, 1033-1037.
[38] Cf. ibid., 1023-1029.
[39] Cf. Catechism of the Catholic Church, 1030-1032.
[40] Cf. Catechism of the Catholic Church, 1032.


Arbiter of Justice

Here I will attempt to answer some questions that came up in one of the combox's from the "Questions for Members of Labor Unions on Abortion" post. I believe that an entire book could probably (and has already been I'm sure) be written on the subject.

Here are the questions: (Thanks Vero Possumus)
1. "What is "justice"? Who is the arbiter of what constitutes "justice".
2. "In human affairs, who is the arbiter of what constitutes justice?"

First some definitions- (mine unless noted otherwise)
Justice- when you get what you deserve
Arbiter- One who has the power to judge or decide (American Heritage®: 4th Ed.)

Q1. Who is the arbiter of what constitutes justice?

I will rephrase the questions to better explain in what manner I understand what is being asked. Who established/decided what is right and wrong, and who decides/interprets what is fair and equitable in human affairs? To a certain degree that query begs the question, ("is there an absolute right and wrong?"), to which my answer is a resounding yes. To keep from getting sidetracked though, I will just leave that assumptive truth as the fact upon which to base the answers to the two aforementioned questions.

The existence of an absolute right and wrong, as opposed to relativism, necessarily leads one to the admission of an absolute Deity. If all truth is relative then there would exist more than one truth. In either or propositions there is no room for a “both and”. Moral relativists can and do argue otherwise, but then they are defeated by their own argument. If they’re right, then I’m also right. Or at least they can’t tell me I’m wrong. If they tell me I’m wrong, then they lose their argument.

So an absolute Deity exists. In this belief I would describe myself as Thomistic. Without getting too in depth as to what that means, suffice it to say that I am Trinitarian. I believe that the second person of the Triune God became incarnate of Mary who remained ever virgin, just as Martin Luther taught and believed. The second person of the Trinity is Jesus who is Christ. As a follower of Christ and as a believer in His “Good News”, I am a Christian.

So the answer to question 1 is: God; Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

The real difficulty isn’t so much found in question #1 however; it’s found in question #2. Because it’s one thing to know that there is a correct answer available. It’s another thing entirely to know who, amongst the voices clamoring for attention, knows the answer. Bottom line, it’s a question of authority. There are two distinct parts to the answer. Distinct yet united in that they are both disposed toward an orderly society.

Q2. In human affairs, who is the arbiter of what constitutes justice?
First the rephrase of the question: Who decides/interprets what is fair and equitable in human affairs?

Answer part 1- The prudential civil authority decides this. But depending on what that authority understands and administers as true justice, what they decide as being fair and equitable may or may not be just.

Let’s use the United States as an example: We have the Constitution as the highest authority of justice in our society. It is here in the Constitution where what is fair and equitable is defined. But that isn’t enough. If everybody was empowered to private interpretation of the Constitution there would be chaos. The Founding Fathers, in their wisdom, recognized this. So, built in to the Constitution was the mechanism for giving life to the document. Thus two branches of government protect and build upon these laws. A third branch judges the protective actions and tertiary laws enacted by the other two branches against the written word of the Constitution and the tradition of how it has been followed.

Answer part2- Since what a civil authority decides on as being fair and equitable may be inconsistent with what God has actually decided is fair and equitable we must look further into the question.

God had established what is right and wrong. Throughout time God has revealed His truth to us in both oral (tradition) and written form. God has also embedded the truth on our hearts. There are things, without being revealed through oral or written means, that every person can know, (e.g. taking another person's property against their will is wrong). God, also in his wisdom, recognized that every individual can’t be empowered to authoritatively determine what divine truth is. Especially when that determination of right and wrong binds other people.

Throughout history, God has given certain individuals/groups the power to govern his people and authoritatively interpret matters of faith and morals (Justice). In the fullness of time God revealed Himself to man in the person of Christ Jesus. Now Jesus shook things up pretty good.
1- He gathered about him twelve followers and gave them authority over people. (Matt 18:18)
2- Of the twelve followers, Simon Bar Jonah was given special authority and had his name changed by Jesus to reflect this (Cephas). (Matt 16:19)
3- These twelve had successors who wield their authority in perpetuity.
4- For the last 2,000 or so years this line of succession has continued.
5- Some have attempted to appropriate this authority through leaving the community and the obligation for obedience to its proper authority.

In the end, there is only one actual authority on Earth for interpreting equity and justice according to God’s revelation and investment of responsibility. All other interpretations are true only in as much as they measure up to what God has established in the Catholic Church.

So the short answer would be: The Magisterium of the Catholic Church headed by the Pope.

Definition of Sophist

I see that a number of my visitors are searching for the definition of "antisophist" on the various search engines and that is what brings them to my blog. Very flattering, it's like finding a picture of yourself in the dictionary under the word "geek".

Just so those readers won't ultimately be disapointed, here is the definition of "Sophist". The definition to which my blog is supposed to be "Anti" is 1b, and 2.



a. any of a class of professional teachers in ancient Greece who gave instruction in various fields, as in general culture, rhetoric, politics, or disputation.

b. a person belonging to this class at a later period who, while professing to teach skill in reasoning, concerned himself with ingenuity and specious effectiveness rather than soundness of argument.

2. a person who reasons adroitly and speciously rather than soundly.

3. a philosopher.


Sarah Palin Feeding Frenzy on Saturday Night Live

So I stayed up late to watch Saturday Night Live, you know... that NBC show that used to be funny (late 90's to about 2001). I watched because Olympic champion Michael Phelps was going to be the host.

The show started with a skit of Sarah Palin (Tina Fey), & Hillary Clinton (Amy Poehler) having a discussion about the current state of politics and the 2008 presidential race.

For some Reason I can't embed the video so click here to watch it. The most humerous part of the video for me was at the beginning when it was introduced as "A Non Partisan Message From Governor Sarah Palin & Senator Hillary Clinton". I admit that Tina Fey did a pretty good job with the Palin impersonation from a technical perspective. There were some real zingers, and the live studio audience (filled with friends and family of the cast and other liberal apologists) responded just as scripted, with roars of laughter and applause.

Then there was a game show skit called quiz bowl (supposed to be a parady of Knowledge Bowl). It pitted three normal kids from some public school against three homeschool kids from the "Jasper family". Most of the questions were science related, the homeschool kids buzzed in first and got every answer wrong by giving some sort of "cultic" fringe fundamentalist answer that was represented as being "Christian". Most of it was organized around making Christians (like Sarah Palin?) appear to be whacko's who don't believe in the most obvious truths of science.

Then during the "Weekend Update" segment they had a character named "Alaska Pete" who basically came out and mocked Palin.

All in all, a pretty cheap attack ad for Obama. Ahh... that's right. Barack Obama was supposed to be on that episode also. But he said it was just too close to 9-11 to be on a comedy show. Ya think maybe the real reason was he wanted to distance himself from such partisan media attacks by NBC?


Papal Thought

Here is a post with some links to various Papal Encyclicals regarding pressing issues of the day. I will post them by their english title. The official titles are of course in Latin. Some of them are a little difficult to read, and some are not. Some are truly humbling (at least for me) when you realize the depth of thought that exists outside your own. All are very enlightening.

Rights and Duties of Capital and Labor the landmark teaching from Pope Leo XIII regarding workers and industry in the new world economy emerging in the 19th Century.

Human Life The prophetic teaching and explanation of proper Christian thought on contraception. Pope Paul VI

Gospel of Life John Paul II's remarkable letter expanding on Paul VI's encyclical. Really the seminole teaching on the value of all human life.

Faith and Reason John Paul II showing how faith and reason are not in opposition to each other, but compliment each other. It was sure nice having a world class philosopher as Pope.

Centissimus Annus JP II expanding on Rerum Novarum on it's 100th anniversary.

Saved Though Hope Benedict XVI, an explanation of what is hope. Very interesting in how it shows that placing hope in "salvation" though science and civil government is false. An absolute must read, especially in these days of Barack Obama and his whole HOPE slogan. After reading this encyclical, you will be better able to explain why Obama makes you ill. Also, it illuminates what is so stupid about liberals wanting to be called "progressives" as if it is flattering.

Sarah Palin Sex Scandal

I have been very pleased so far with Sarah Palin and the McCain campaign strategy of promoting her positive traits. I believe that the left has played their role exactly as expected. They couldn't have been more predictable in their vitriol if they had actually been following a written script. It's almost as if the same Republican strategist has provided both camps with their talking points.

The liberal feminist's are showing that "Envy Green" and "Leftist Lavendar" are their true colors and not "Parity Pink". You see; NOW, the League of Women Voters, etc... don't exist to promote the cause of women being treated with equality in society. They exist to secure power for the political left by delivering the votes of a particular demographic group. They are completely intollerant of social viewpoints that don't conform to their leftist social agenda. They owe their allegiance to the leftist political philosophy more than they do to women.

They see the emergance of Sarah Palin as a scandal to their cause. "How is it that Governor Palin can be successful and not goose step with the liberal femenists?" they wonder. They actually can't comprehend and won't tolerate a woman holding a social philosophy that includes a pro-life agenda. It goes against what they've been brainwashed with for decades, that the pro-life agenda is born of men trying to control women and limit their choices.

So... they attack Governor Palin and the Republicans for using her gender exploitatively. How ironic to be accused by liberals of exploiting a particular demographic group through political pandering and candidate selection. I believe that this is part of what Pope Benedict XVI was referring to when he preached against the "Dictatorship of Relativism".

Here is a list of Sarah Palin's scandalous positions:
1. She is pro-life (and she's a women...? she must be brainwashed or dumb)
2. She Believes in traditional marriage.
3. She isn't a member of the "Lavendar Mafia".

Here is what NOW president Kim Gandy said of Governor Palin;

“She may be an intelligent, motivated, highly successful professional woman,” NOW President Kim Gandy said, “but she’s the wrong woman. She’s a bad woman. She’s not even half the woman Joe Biden is.”
Gandy cited Biden’s support for pay equity, his authorship of landmark domestic violence legislation, and his “lovely tribute to his mother” in his own acceptance speech as stark contrasts to Palin, who, according to Gandy, “foolishly believes in carrying all pregnancies to term” and “has consistently put herself and her career ahead of the fight for women’s rights.”
“It would be best for everyone if Sarah Palin would just stay home and raise her kids,” Gandy said. ”When you have one child with Down syndrome and another with an unwanted pregnancy who won’t even consider the ease and convenience of abortion, you need to be a better mother, not Vice President.”

So... the Sarah Palin sex scandal is this. Sarah Palin doesn't think like the liberals have been telling people of her sex to. How dare she think for herself and be successful without worshipping at their altar!